Sunday 13 April 2014

The Boys are Back

The field has had a few weeks to recover a bit and the grass is now 'moving' well and giving it a lovely new green 'pile'. I have had to mow the lawn its first cut and the other two miniature horses are getting through the hay we made last June and stashed away in the barn at Carolyn's, so today we get them back. They (Bob and Romeo) are delighted and, says Charlotte, as soon as they turned right out of her drive and realised they were coming here, they were pulling like mad down the lane to get here.

Once released into the field and cleaned of all tack, head collars and so on, they went completely giddy, racing round the field in big figures of 8 and loops, bucking and playing and stopping now and then to munch big mouthfuls of grass. It is a pleasure to see horses so happy and we are delighted to be able to give them this fun and pleasure just by having a spare field which needs a bit of mowing now and then till our lambs arrive. Carolyn is, meanwhile going to fertilize her own field and let it grow to hay again so that we can do the hay-making, hopefully in June and then put the horses out on the aftermath.

20 years of gardening - our first
successful fritillary!
The third amigo is still confined to home awaiting his appointment with Aoife the Vet. He needs 'doing' in between the risk of frost and the start of the blow fly season, which is a tight window but his other problem is that the months of separation have led to him no longer being able to get on smoothly with Bob and Romeo. He, an entire stallion, is convinced that he should be top dog but Romeo, backed up by Bob argues this point quite forcefully. At the moment, he can't go back into the field with them but he could now go into our pig-field which is also horse-proof, so we're waiting to see in his case how the operation goes and the reduction in his testosterone levels which will follow.

Concrete pig-drinker.
In the pig department we have had a nice result as a gift from former pig keepers, Carolyn and Charlotte. As we now know from our pig-learning, pigs are devils for destroying any plastic bowls or buckets you try to use for feeding them and providing water - they are playful, boisterous animals and they will happily grab up the bowl and go for a game with it, hurling it around, fighting over it, doing tug of wars, climbing into it and generally messing. K-Dub's solution to this was to build a bowl shaped mould out of wooden shuttering and fill it with concrete, thus creating a heavy robust concrete bowl which the pigs could not move, never mind play with. We have inherited this (Thanks very much, all three of you!) and hefted it into the car to bring home. It is currently being washed and sterilized with Miltons fluid prior to being installed in our own pig-run.

Tarte tatin with pâte brisée.
Meanwhile, Happy Birthday to me.  Not a significant number but one with a rather neat symmetry, I was born in 1957 and I am (tomorrow) 57 years old. Tomorrow though, we have an extra session of Bee School thrown at us, so we decided to do the special meal tonight. In our family the rules are that the Birthday-boy (or girl) gets to choose the menu and the other person has to cook it, but is allowed to interpret too. I 'ordered' steak and chips, apple pie and ice cream but this being Liz, it was not your standard apple pie with shortcrust pastry.

Steak, chips, peas and chestnut mushrooms.
Nope. She got out the Darina Allen books and went for a rather special Tarte Tatin (a French upside-down apple tart). The pastry is a superb fragile, rich, 2-egg-yolk job called Pâte Brisée (Broken or 'crumbly' pastry) which is allowed (nay, expected!) to break up as you try to turn out the pie. The apple you start by getting butter and sugar to foam in the frying pan till it turns fudge-golden, then add the apples and cook till the whole is caramelised to a dark brown colour. "Hold your nerve" advises Darina in the book, you will think you have burned it all to blazes but , no, you will have created a superbly sticky, sweet, apple-y version of heaven which your husband will be very very impressed by and grateful for on his 57th Birthday.

Spoiled, I am.

1 comment:

anne wilson said...

Happy belated birthday, hope it was a good one.